|Publication number||US8106791 B2|
|Application number||US 11/785,040|
|Publication date||Jan 31, 2012|
|Filing date||Apr 13, 2007|
|Priority date||Apr 13, 2007|
|Also published as||CA2683442A1, CA2683442C, CN101680958A, CN101680958B, EP2137552A1, EP2137552A4, US20080253230, WO2008127665A1|
|Publication number||11785040, 785040, US 8106791 B2, US 8106791B2, US-B2-8106791, US8106791 B2, US8106791B2|
|Inventors||M. Clark Thompson, Don M. Coates, David W. Beck|
|Original Assignee||Chevron U.S.A. Inc.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (49), Non-Patent Citations (3), Referenced by (4), Classifications (8), Legal Events (2)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
Methods and systems are disclosed for receiving and decoding electromagnetic-based information and its communication within a well.
2. Background Information
U.S. Pat. No. 6,766,141 (Briles et al.) discloses a system for remote downhole well telemetry. Telemetry communication is used for monitoring oil well conditions and recording instruments which are located in a vicinity of a bottom of a gas or oil recovery pipe.
As described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,766,141, known telemetry systems include a radio frequency (RF) generator/receiver base station that communicates electrically with conductive piping located in a borehole. The RF frequency is characterized as being electromagnetic radiation between 3 Hz and 30 GHz. A downhole electronics module having a reflecting antenna receives a radiated carrier signal from the RF generator/receiver. The radiated carrier signal is then modulated and reflected, the modulation being responsive to downhole measurements performed by the electronics module. The reflected, modulated signal is transmitted by the pipe to the surface of the well where it can be detected by the RF generator/receiver. The detected signal is analyzed to determine drilling conditions within the borehole.
Notwithstanding the benefits of such an above-described system, signal strength limitations inherent to the technique can limit the technique's overall applicability. Accordingly, an improved technique could provide improved signal strength—particularly wherein an electromagnetic (EM) pulse is used in place of standard RF signals.
In view of the aforementioned limitations of the prior art, the present invention provides improved signal strength, by utilizing an electromagnetic (EM) pulse (provided by an EM pulse generator), to effectively communicate with and wirelessly interrogate sensors and other devices located in a downhole environment. Such improvement is enhanced by an exploitation of the time delay between the initial pulse (from the surface) and the time at which the reflected signal is received back at the surface. Such improvement is further possible by using inductive ferrite rings to isolate the production tubing of a wellbore from the wellbore casing.
In some embodiments, the present invention is directed to methods for interrogating a downhole environment located below a surface of a landform based on at least one electromagnetic energy pulse (i.e., an EM pulse) that is reflected at a ring frequency from one or more downhole transducers (sensors). The methods include directing at least one electromagnetic energy pulse into a downhole environment such that the electromagnetic energy pulse interacts with at least one downhole transducer such that at least some of the electromagnetic energy contained within the pulse is reflected at a ring frequency determined by the at least one downhole transducer. The methods also include receiving the reflected energy pulse at a receiver located at the surface of the landform during a predetermined time interval wherein the predetermined time interval is synchronized based on a depth determined delay of the reflected pulse. The methods include processing the reflected energy pulse to extract the ring frequency and correlating the ring frequency to a parameter of the downhole environment.
In accordance with alternate embodiments, an exemplary method for interrogating a downhole environment located below a surface of a landform is based on at least one electromagnetic energy pulse that is reflected from one or more downhole transducers at a frequency determined by downhole characteristics, including receiving the at least one reflected energy pulse at a receiver, which is located at the surface of the landform, during a predetermined time interval. Exemplary steps of the method also include locking onto the ring frequency of the reflected energy pulse, and correlating the locked frequency to a parameter of the downhole environment.
Additionally, an exemplary system for interrogating a downhole environment, which is located below a surface of a landform, is based on at least one energy pulse that is reflected from a downhole transducer to a location at the surface of the landform, including means for receiving the modulated energy pulse at the surface during a predetermined time interval. The system also includes means for processing the received energy pulse to extract the modulation frequency, and means for correlating the modulation frequency of the energy pulse to a parameter of the transducer or a characteristic of the downhole environment.
In other embodiments, the present invention provides for an exemplary apparatus for interrogating a downhole environment located below a surface of a landform, the apparatus typically being included in a system that transmits energy pulses to a downhole transducer which modulates the energy pulses and returns the modulated energy pulses to the surface of the landform. The apparatus includes means for receiving the modulated energy pulses at the surface. In some embodiments, the apparatus further includes means for sampling the modulated energy pulses and means for determining the modulating frequency of the sampled energy pulses. Moreover, the apparatus includes means for correlating the modulating frequency to conditions of the downhole environment.
In some or other embodiments, the apparatus further includes means for receiving the modulated energy pulses at the surface. The apparatus further includes means for locking onto the modulating frequency of the energy pulses when the modulating frequency is within a tolerance range, and means for correlating the modulating frequency to conditions of the downhole environment.
The foregoing has outlined rather broadly the features of the present invention in order that the detailed description of the invention that follows may be better understood. Additional features and advantages of the invention will be described hereinafter which form the subject of the claims of the invention.
Other advantages and features described herein will be more readily apparent to those skilled in the art when reading the following detailed description in connection with the accompanying drawings, wherein:
As mentioned above, the present invention utilizes an electromagnetic (EM) pulse to wirelessly interrogate one or more transducers (sensors) in a downhole environment. An EM pulse is a broadband, high-duration burst of electromagnetic energy. See FED-STD-1037C, “Telecommunications: Glossary of Telecommunication Terms,” GSA, Aug. 7, 1996. Such EM pulses differ markedly from the radiofrequency (RF) signals used in Briles et al., U.S. Pat. No. 6,766,141.
As referenced herein, a downhole environment can be an area within or below the surface of a landform that includes a borehole and the area surrounding a borehole through which electromagnetic energy can be communicated. The borehole can be a cavity that can be located within or beneath a landform, and which can be characterized by various orientations, material compositions, temperature, pressure, flow rate, or other measurable parameter(s)—all of which can vary along its length. The electromagnetic energy can be processed to measure desired characteristics of the downhole environment. The apparatus 100 mentioned above includes means, such as a conductive pipe 102, for conducting a pulse through the borehole to interrogate the borehole and/or downhole environment. As referenced herein, interrogating can include transmitting electromagnetic energy (as an EM pulse) into a borehole, receiving a reflected energy pulse from electronic components in the borehole, and processing the reflected energy pulse to extract information related to characteristics of the borehole and/or downhole environment.
Referring to exemplary apparatus 100 in
The inlet 104 includes a probe 106 coupled with the conductive pipe 102. The probe 106 can be formed, for example, as a coaxial connector having a first (e.g., interior) conductor coupled electrically to the conductive pipe 102, and having a second (e.g., exterior) conductive casing coupled to a hollow borehole casing 111. An insulator is used to separate the interior conductor from the exterior conductive casing.
The inlet 104 can include an inductive isolator, such as a ferrite inductor 108 or other inductor or component, for electrically isolating the inlet 104 from a first potential (e.g., a potential, such as a common ground, of the return current path of the borehole casing 111) at a location in a vicinity of the inlet 104. The apparatus 100 can include means, such as a signal generator 105, coupled to the inlet 104 for generating the electromagnetic energy to be applied to the conductive pipe 102.
The hollow borehole casing 111 can be placed into the borehole whose characteristics are to be monitored. The hollow borehole casing 111 can, for example, be configured of steel or other suitable material.
The conductive pipe 102 can be located within, and electrically isolated from, the hollow borehole casing 111 using spacers 116. The spacers 116, for example, can be configured as insulated centralizers which maintain a separation distance of the conductive pipe 102 from the inner walls of the hollow borehole casing 111. These insulating spacers 116 can be configured as disks formed from any suitable material including, but not limited to, nylon.
The apparatus 100 includes means, such as a resonant network device 110 responsive to the pulse, for resonating at a frequency which is modulated as a function of a characteristic of the borehole. The resonant network device 110 can be, for example, any electro-acoustic or other device including, but not limited to, any magnetically-coupled electrically-resonant mechanical structure for performing an electrical resonance, such as the resonant cavity of
Those skilled in the art will appreciate that a magnetic core is a material significantly affected by a magnetic field in its region, due to the orientable dipoles within its molecular structure. Such a material can confine and/or intensify an applied magnetic field due to its low magnetic reluctance. The wellhead ferrite inductance 108 can provide a compact inductive impedance in a range of, for example, 90-110 ohms, or lesser or greater as desired, relative between an inlet feed point on the pipe and a wellhead flange short. This impedance, in parallel with an exemplary 47 ohm characteristic impedance of the pipe-casing transmission line can reduce the transmitted and received signals by, for example, about ˜3 dbV at the inlet feed point for a typical band center at 50 MHz. The magnetic permeability of the ferrite cores can range from ˜20 to slightly over 100, or lesser or greater. As such, for a given inductance of an air-core inductor, when the core material is inserted, the natural inductance can be multiplied by about these same factors. Selected core materials can be used for the frequency range of, for example, 10-100 MHz, or lesser or greater.
The resonant network device 110 illustrated in
A means for sensing can include a transducer provided in operative communication with the resonant network device 110, and coupled (e.g., capacitively or magnetically) with the first (e.g., common ground) potential. The transducer is configured to sense a characteristic associated with the borehole, and to modulate the frequency induced in the resonant network device 111 when a pulse is applied to the inlet 104 of the probe 106. The modulated frequency can be processed to provide a measure of the borehole characteristic. That is, the frequency induced by the pulse is modulated by a sensed characteristic of the borehole, and this modulation of the frequency can be processed to provide a measure of the characteristic. Typically, the transducer and the resonant network device are one in the same.
The sensing means can include, or be associated with, means for processing, represented as a processor (e.g., computer 121). The processing means can process an output of the resonant network device as transmitted via the borehole casing 111. The processor 121 can provide a signal representing the characteristic to be measured or monitored. In an exemplary embodiment, for example, the processor 121 can be configured to process the received signal using a time domain or a frequency domain tracking method. As referenced herein, sensing includes receiving a reflected energy pulse from a transducer located in the borehole and processing the reflected energy pulse to extract information related to the characteristics of the borehole or downhole environment.
In an exemplary embodiment, at least a portion of the hollow borehole casing 111 is at the first potential (e.g., common ground). For example, the hollow borehole casing 111 can be at a common ground potential at both a location in a vicinity of the inlet 104, and at a location in a vicinity of the resonant network device 110. The grounding of the hollow borehole casing 111 in a vicinity of the inlet 104 is optional and establishes a known impedance for the conductive pipe 102. The grounding of the hollow borehole casing 111 in a vicinity of the resonant network device 110 allows the resonant length to be defined. That is, the resonant cavity has a length within the hollow borehole casing 111 defined by the distance between torroidal coil 112 and the ground connection at a second, lower end of the resonant cavity.
The transducer of the resonant network device 110 can be configured to include passive electrical components, such as inductors and/or capacitors, such that no downhole power is needed. During an assembly of the apparatus 100, as shown in
Details of the exemplary apparatus of
An instrumentation signal port 122 is provided for receiving the probe 106. A wellhead configuration, as depicted in
An exemplary impedance 126 between the conductive pipe 102 and the hollow borehole casing 111, can be on the order of 47 ohms, or lesser or greater. This portion of the conductive pipe 102 serves as a transmission line for communication of the downhole electronics, such as the transducer, with the surface electronics, such as the processor 121.
This relatively large differential impedance at the top of the resonant cavity relative to the conductive pipe 102 above the resonant cavity provides, at least in part, an ability of the cavity to resonate, or “ring,” in response to the pulse and thereby provide a high degree of sensitivity in measuring a characteristic of interest. In addition, the ability of the transducer to provide a relatively high degree of sensitivity is aided by placing a lower end of the resonant cavity at the common ground potential.
The transducer associated with the resonant cavity for modulating the vibration frequency induced by the pulse, as acted upon by the characteristic to be measured, is represented as a transducer 136.
For a resonant cavity configuration, the bottom of the resonant cavity can include a Packer seal, to connect the conductive pipe to the hollow borehole casing 111. The Packer 138, as illustrated in
The ferrite torroidal core 112 can be configured as a torroidal core slipped into a plastic end piece. Such ferrite materials are readily available, such as cores available from Fair-Rite Incorporated, configured as a low μ, radio frequency-type material, or any other suitable material. Mounting screws 204 are illustrated, and can be used to maintain the sensor sleeve and transducer in place at a location along a length of the conductive pipe 102. A bottom of the resonant cavity, which coincides with a common ground connection of the Packer 138 to the hollow borehole casing, is not shown in
In an electrical schematic representation, the conductive pipe 102 can be effectively represented as a single turn winding 214 in the transformer construct, and several secondary windings 216 can be stacked on the single primary current path. The quality of the Packer short is generally of little or no significance. Metal-toothed Packers can alternatively be used. The return signal using this transformer method can be detected, in exemplary embodiments, without using a low Packer shorting impedance.
In the exemplary
In an exemplary embodiment, the distance of one width of a ring can decrease coupling for typical applications. The inductance and/or capacitance of each resonant network device can be modified by adding coil turns, and the number of turns can be selected as a function of the application. For example, the number of turns will set a ring frequency of each resonant network device. Exemplary embodiments can be on the order of 3 to 30 turns, or lesser or greater as desired.
In exemplary embodiments, the frequency used for the multiple resonant network devices 206 can be on the order of 3 MHz to 100 MHz or lesser or greater, as desired. The frequency can be selected as a function of the material characteristics of the conductive pipe 102 (e.g., steel or titanium). Skin depth can limit use of high frequencies above a certain point, and a lower end of the available frequency range can be selected as a function of the simplification of the resonant network device construction. However, if too low a frequency is selected, decoupling from the wellhead connection short should be considered.
Thus, use of ferrite magnetic materials can simplify the downhole resonant network devices mechanically, and can allow fewer alterations to conventional well components. Use of a ferrite magnetic torroid can permit magnetic material to enhance the magnetic field, and thus the inductance, in the current path in very localized compact regions. Thus, stacking of multiple resonant network devices 206 at a remote site down the borehole can be achieved with minimal interaction among the multiple devices. The multiple sensor devices can be included to sense multiple characteristics. The use of a ferrite magnetic torroid can also be used to achieve relatively short isolation distances at the wellhead connection for coupling signal cables to the conductive pipe 102 as shown in
The resonant network device, configured of a “torroidal spool,” can be separated and operated substantially independent of sensor packages which are similarly configured and placed in a vicinity of the spool 218. An increased inductance in a width of the torroidal spool can be used to isolate the signal feed point at the wellhead connection. As is represented in
In exemplary embodiments, transducers, such as capacitive transducers, are mounted near the top of the resonant cavity as an electrical element of the sensor sleeve 202. Remote parameters can be brought to the sensor in the resonant cavity via a conduit that passes through and into a sealed sensing unit. The measurement of a desired parameter can then be remotely monitored. The monitoring can be extended using a mechanical mechanism from the sensor to relocate the sensor within the resonant cavity at different locations along the length of the conductive pipe 102. In
The exemplary embodiments of apparatus 100, as shown for example in
The processor 121 controls the gated, directional coupler 504 to gate the receiver 505 on and thereby detect a return from the resonant network device 110 located in the resonant cavity. This return is generally depicted as the ringing frequency 508.
The ability of the receiver 505 to detect a reflected signal from the resonant network device 110 when the exemplary impulse 502 is transmitted by the above-surface signal generator 105, can be affected by the depth of the probe in the borehole (e.g., greater than 80 ft. or any other depth as desired) and by electronic noise generated in the borehole, both of which can result in a reduction in strength of the reflected signal.
To reduce these effects, the time domain tracking method technique establishes a specific time of pulse transmission and pulse return which allows precise control of the receiver gate sequence. A timing and delay system 510 can set a delay preset (e.g., 8150 nano-seconds as illustrated in
A telemetry/communication link system 516 can be provided to transmit information obtained from the borehole to any desired location. The telemetry/communication link system can be any suitable transmission and/or receiving system including, but not limited to, wireless and/or wired systems.
When detecting a reflective signal, after a specified delay, the timing and delay system 510 (see
In block 610, a digitized signature of the ringing signal can be processed for frequency, using, for example, a fast fourier transform (FFT). In block 612, the ring frequency can be equated, through software such as look-up tables contained within the processor 121, to a particular characteristic or LC filter parameter of the resonant network device 110, and then prepared for transmission or storage.
The processor 121 controls the gated directional coupler 704 to gate the receiver 706 on and thereby detect a return from the resonant network device 110 located in the resonant cavity.
When using the above-surface technique, for example, a delay unit 908 can be configured (e.g., programmed) to a preset delay to control the gating of the receiver 706 for receipt of the feedback pulse. During the gating of the receiver 706, the ping generated by the resonant network device 110 passes through the gated directional coupler 704 and through a band pass filter 905. The receiver 706 is connected to receive the filtered signal. The receiver 706 can include a phase lock loop (PLL) and feedback circuit (PLL circuit) 708 to lock onto the desired frequency.
The PLL circuit 708 can be implemented through a low pass filter 710 that receives signal from the band pass filter 705. Amplifiers 712 can be connected to receive the filtered output of the low pass filter 710 and provide the amplified signal on its output to an analog-to-digital (A/D) converter 714. The output of the A/D converter 714 is received by a feedback control means 716, such as a proportional-integral-derivative (PID) controller or other programmable logic device, as desired. The feedback controller 710 can be configured to calculate a difference between the detected frequency and the desired frequency to determine when the detected frequency is within a desired tolerance. When the detected frequency is within the desired tolerance the feedback controller 716 provides an appropriate output signal to an oscillator 718 so that the PLL circuit 708 can lock onto the detected frequency of the pulse.
Once the PLL circuit 708 locks onto the frequency of the pulse, the processor uses the frequency value as an address in a look-up table to obtain a corresponding temperature value, a pressure value, or other value representing a measurable characteristic of the downhole environment.
At block 806, when detecting a reflective signal, a receiving gate is opened to detect the modulated vibration frequency from the resonant network device 110. The receiver filters and amplifies the filtered signal to minimize noise (block 808). The receiver uses a phase lock loop (PLL) and feedback circuit 906 to lock onto the desired frequency (block 810). The PLL circuit 906 enables the processor 121 to lock onto the ringing frequency of the ring pulses generated by the resonant network device 110. The feedback circuit enables the processor 121 to adjust its frequency setting when a pulse is detected, and maintain the set or locked frequency when a pulse is not detected.
When the detected frequency is within a desired tolerance, the frequency is locked and used as an address to a numerical value in a look-up table (LUT) (block 812). The numerical value represents a measured temperature, pressure, or other measurable characteristic of the borehole.
The processor 121 uses a detection window that observes 10 to 20 cycles over time. The number of cycles necessary to accurately lock onto a frequency is dependent on the signal-to-noise (S/N) ratio of the detected pulse. The number of cycles is indirectly proportional to the S/N ratio. The pulses are received at a rate of 10 MHz to 100 MHz or lesser or greater as desired. The processor 121 demodulates the received pulses to realize a 12-bit word, which consists of 10 bits of data (2 bits of overhead).
Numerous additional variations on the above-described embodiments exist. A few such variations are described below.
In some embodiments, the signal can be digitized. Digitation allows processing of the signal using algorithms that can enhance the signal-to-noise (S/N) ratio and can provide a way to single out desired signals from the spurious reflections that can occur from non-sensors.
In some embodiments, a directional wave coupler can be employed to prevent reflections of the signal as it is transmitted between the surface and the downhole sensors. It can happen that undesirable reflections can result from impedance mismatches at connects between cables and devices in the system. Directional wave couplers can minimize such spurious reflections. Such devices are known in the art and are available from electronics supply companies such as Meca Electronics, Inc., Denville, N.J.
In some embodiments, a surface-to-surface relay of the transmitted signal, as it is received at the surface of the well, is performed. e.g., as described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,434,372 to Neagley et al.
In some embodiments, downhole devices (e.g., valves) can be selectively actuated using the electromagnetic energy transmitted from the surface. The energy can be transmitted from the surface in the form of a pulse or in a continuous wave format or other electromagnetic form. The energy is stored over time in a capacitor bank downhole and released when actuation of the valve or other device is called for. Selective discharge of the capacitor bank, and hence, actuation, can be effected with a separate resonant network device designed to ring at a distinct frequency.
Those skilled in the art will appreciate that the disclosed embodiments described herein are by way of example only, and that numerous variations will exist. The invention is limited only by the claims, which encompass the embodiments described herein as well as variants apparent to those skilled in the art.
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|U.S. Classification||340/854.3, 340/854.6|
|International Classification||G01V3/26, G01V3/30|
|Cooperative Classification||G01V11/002, E21B47/122|
|European Classification||E21B47/12M, G01V11/00B|
|Aug 9, 2007||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: CHEVRON U.S.A. INC., CALIFORNIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:THOMPSON, M. CLARK;BECK, DAVID W.;COATES, DON M.;REEL/FRAME:019720/0179;SIGNING DATES FROM 20070702 TO 20070709
Owner name: CHEVRON U.S.A. INC., CALIFORNIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:THOMPSON, M. CLARK;BECK, DAVID W.;COATES, DON M.;SIGNINGDATES FROM 20070702 TO 20070709;REEL/FRAME:019720/0179
|Jun 24, 2015||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4